Ljubljana – The presidents of Slovenia and Italy, Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella, will visit Nova Gorica and Gorizia, the cities on each side of the Slovenian-Italian border, next Thursday to hail their title as the 2025 European Capital of Culture. On the occasion Pahor will decorate Mattarella with Slovenia’s top state honour.
The two cities will jointly host the European Capital of Culture in 2025 with slogan Go! Borderless, and the official visit by the two presidents is meant to welcome the project as a symbol of partnership, understanding and tolerance and as an illustration of a borderless Europe, the president’s office has announced.
As Nova Gorica and Gorizia won the designation in December last year, Pahor and Mattarella sent out a joint letter of congratulation, saying they were genuinely excited about the news.
Meeting in Rome on 14 April this year, the presidents announced they would take up the honorary patronage over the project, agreeing to visit the two cities together in the autumn to show their support.
On Thursday, Pahor will receive his Italian counterpart with full military honours in Bevk Square in Nova Gorica. The presidents will then hold a bilateral meeting before being joined by representatives of the countries’ respective minorities.
The presidents are also scheduled to inspect a new footbridge across the border river Soča and visit an exhibition marking the 140th anniversary of the Trieste-based newspaper Il Piccolo in Gorizia, where Mattarella will formally receive Pahor with a guard of honour.
The pair will then address a ceremony in Europe Square linking the two cities.
Pahor will also present Mattarella with the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service, Slovenia’s top state honour.
The two presidents are expected to discuss topical issues concerning the two minorities, in particular the return of National Home in Trieste to the Slovenian community in Italy.
A memorandum to that effect was singed in July last year as part of the ceremonies commemorating the centenary since National Home was put on fire by the Fascists.